Drawing attention to nurse-on-nurse violence


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A group of New York nurses have published an article about nurse intimidation and bullying. The article, The Prevalence of Horizontal Violence in New York State Registered Nurses, appeared in the journal of the New York State Nurses Association fall/winter 2009-2010 issue.

Discussed in the article is the issue of horizontal violence (sometimes called lateral violence) which is defined as non-physical hostility within a group of peers. It may include sabotage, infighting, backstabbing, excluding and frequent criticisms. The oft-cited problem of “nurses eating their young” is one form of horizontal violence.

While the causes of horizontal violence have been debated for some time (with some researchers attributing it to nurses’ oppressed status), no one doubts the existence of nurse-on-nurse violence — or the fact that it severely undermines morale and work satisfaction.

Think you could recognize this behavior if you saw it? Time to test yourself.

Okay, we admit. The below video does not have Steven Spielberg-level editing quality, but the scenarios are so compelling we just had to share.

Watch the video and tell us: Could you recognize horizontal violence if you saw it on your unit?


Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN
Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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